Saturday, February 14, 2015

Easy Mexican Chili Chocolate Pot de Creme

Serves 4
2 eggs
1/4 cup raw, local honey
4 oz. chopped unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cumin
1-2 dashes ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup canned whole fat coconut milk
1. Add all ingredients, except coconut milk to a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Heat coconut milk until hot, about one minute. Do not boil.
3. With blender running, slowly and carefully pour hot coconut milk into blender. Blend until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth and thick.
4. Pour into serving cups and refrigerate until set, at least two hour.

Happy Valentine's Day, 2015

Like this guy, only cooler.
     So this has been one of the best Valentine's Days I've ever had. It was even better than the time my mom sent me a heart-shaped Valentine balloon that had a face and a tux and crepe paper arms and legs with cardboard feet and hands that would sort of bounce/walk across the room. She sent it to me in school when I was in sixth-grade, making me the object of much jealousy. I named him Billy Walker, and we danced around the school.

     Sadly, I woke up with a migraine. The migraine actually woke me up out of a sound sleep. So I got everyone else up, started the pot de crème while Lydia made breakfast, so I could eat and take something for my head and did my migraine remedy routine, which involves drinking a glass of prune juice, a cup of coffee, a little food, some ibuprofen, and movement. It sounds crazy, but it works.

    I gave each of my Valentine's a gift in order of when they became my Valentine, so I started with Ray. I gave him a drawing book that he's wanted for years now. I also have a tradition. You see, back in 1993, when Ray and I met, I gave him a Valentine card and a "box." It was made of a block of wood and described how it should never be open because it held love inside. It had a cute poem on the bottom that has long since been lost, and it was wrapped in light blue paper with a curly, blue bow. Ray kept it, even though we didn't get together back then. Every year since then, with the exception of last year when I couldn't find one, I have given Ray a box of some sort for Valentine's. This year, I found a box of colored pencils with a Dia de los Muertos skull on it. And it kept with our theme. Ray picked my name, so he made a chocolate bar for me, and it had dried cranberries and dates in it.

     Lydia was next on my list. She really wanted Dexter Charming, so she got it. Like I already mentioned, she made breakfast of chocolate chip waffles. She also spent her own money to get all of us gifts. She got Ray and me Skylanders, and she got her brothers some Mixels. She also made everyone a card using stamps she got from Ray's parents for Christmas. She made her chocolate bar for Victor. It had almond butter and strawberry preserves in it.

     Victor and Alex were next. They both have fallen in love with paper craft. Victor wanted more Minecraft, and Alex wanted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Victor made his chocolate for Alex with dried cranberries and strawberry preserves. And Alex made his chocolate for Ray. It had dates, dried cranberries and raw sunflower seeds in it. The boys put on a Valentine's concert for us. The name of their band is Boyz 2 Bed. They got an unofficial Valentine gift of mesh bags to keep their paper craft toys in.

     Ray made me a card, which was really nice. He also gave me volume two of season six of Ancient Aliens because we love that show, and he made me some rose-flavored dark chocolate roses and hearts. I made my chocolate for Lydia with dried cranberries. The candy bars we made were a lot of fun, even if some of them fell apart because of being too stuffed with tasty goodness.

     We had sushi for lunch because we haven't had it in a while. Then we danced. We got a family gift of Just Dance 2015, and we danced. There are some really fun songs on it. My parents came over to give us some cards because they are awesome and love us.

     As night approached, it was time to make our special Valentine's dinner. Ray and I made it together: Paleo burritos and Mexican Chili Chocolate Pot de Crème. The wrap on the burrito is a recipe from a book by Kelly Bejelly called Paleo Eats. It is full of ground turkey, onion, peppers, cumin, cayenne, oregano, and avocado, and topped with salsa. The pot de crème was a real winner and pretty easy to convert to Paleo, so I'll post the recipe. We watched the movie while we ate our delicious meal, and I was sad when it was gone.

     Now that Valentine's is out of the way, it's time to buckle down again. I'm working on a pretty big project. It's going to be two approaches to living a Paleo lifestyle. I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day. This is my Valentine to you: Love life. Live it to the fullest. I love you and wish you love and health. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Teriyaki Bacon Jerky

1 pack of uncured bacon
1 bottle balsamic vinegar
coconut aminos
raw, local honey
 sea salt

1. Cut bacon slices in half.

2. Put bacon in a bowl and add enough balsamic vinegar to cover.

3. Add several drops of coconut aminos and a couple of squirts of honey.

4. Salt liberally and stir to make sure all the meat is covered with the liquid and salt.

5. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours. (Overnight it better.)

6. Place on dehydrator racks and allow to run for 12-14 hours, flipping once half-way through, or heat oven to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use the oven method, lay bacon out on cookie sheets covered in foil and flip every 30 minutes. Jerky is ready when it is stiff, and you can fold it in half to show white fibers.

 7. Once done, allow to cool before serving, or refrigerate and enjoy within 5 days.

Apple Streusel Quiche

Serves 6
2 large, baking apples (we use Jazz)
2 Tbs. water
2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
6 eggs
1 1/2 Tbs. butter or coconut oil, melted
2Tbs. coconut milk
1 Tbs. coconut flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Pinch sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a medium skillet, sauté the apples, water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon until the apples are the consistency of apple pie filling. Allow to cool before combining with the egg mixture.
3. In a blender, add eggs, butter, coconut milk, coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the cooled apples. The blender will make this super fluffy. If you want it chunkier, do this step by hand in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
4. Pour mixture into greased 9-inch pie pan.
5. Bake for 40 minutes.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sweet and Tangy Broccoli Slaw with Chicken

Serves 4
4 cups broccoli slaw
1 small onion, chopped and sautéed
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbs. pomegranate vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. raw, local honey
1. In a large bowl combine broccoli slaw, onion, bell pepper, and chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, and honey. Pour over slaw and mix well.
3. Cover and chill overnight. Mix well before serving.

Mexican Chili Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

2 cans whole fat coconut milk
1 cup soy-free, dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1-4 shakes ground cayenne pepper (to taste)

1. Heat coconut milk over medium heat. Add chocolate chips and stir continuously until completely melted and homogenous.  Do not allow to boil.

2. Take off heat, and add cinnamon, vanilla, and cayenne. Stir well.

3. Chill overnight.

4. Following instructions for your ice cream maker, add ingredients and run until done.

5. Enjoy at a fraction of the cost of store-bought coconut milk ice cream.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day

     I want to start with an apology. I haven't been able to do many posts over the past three weeks, but I have legitimate reasons. Three weeks ago was the beginning of an eleven-day stretch of work to make up for a fellow co-workers vacation. Halfway through the stretch, I got a cold, but I was keeping with it. Then on my first day off, it went into my chest, and I started having nosebleeds. I'm not talking about a little bit of blood. I'm talking 30 seconds to 2 minutes, going through several tissues. The last time I had these symptoms, I ended up with a blood infection as the sinus infection transferred through the thin sinus membranes that were already bleeding. I ended up at the doctor for the first time in over 14 years, and I ended up calling out of work two days in a row. The diagnosis: acute bronchitis and acute sinusitis. So I've been on antibiotics, steroids, and cough medicine. I'm just beginning to feel human again, but I must confess that I haven't put a lot of thought or effort into the blog.

     Last year, we had our first Paleo Valentine's Day, so instead of lots of candy, we had a bacon spinach salad with dark chocolate and saw The Lego Movie. It was awesome. The salad was really awesome. Our theme was "Do It for Your Heart." Then last night, Lydia suggested we check out The Book of Life for our Valentine family movie, and a theme was born, "Ama la Vida." I want my family to love life and live it to the fullest. We're going to make some Mexican chili chocolate coconut milk ice cream this week. And on Valentine's Day, we're going to try to make a Paleo-friendly version of my favorite Pot de Crème recipe, but with some Mexican spice to it, too. Mexican food can be hard to make Paleo since it relies so heavily on grain and legumes, but wraps can be made with large leaves of lettuce or crepes. Savory chili can be packed with protein and veggies while leaving out the beans and corn. And delicious guacamole and salsa can be made with fresh, whole ingredients.

     We will still give each other some dark chocolate, but Ray had the cool idea of drawing names and making a Paleo chocolate bar for the person whose name was drawn with a message as to why we love that person. We just intend to spend the entire day together, having a fun day full of hugs.

     The most important thing about Valentine's Day is about loving those who are special to you, and that includes yourself, so do something special and loving for yourself. Maybe now is the time to start eating Paleo, if you don't already. So live life. Love life. And know that I love you and am here with support and tips. Happy Valentine's Day.